Riot Games issues bans to 13 Chinese players implicated in VALORANT match-fixing scandal

Riot Games has handed out 13 bans to individuals following its investigation into Chinese VALORANT match-fixing allegations, the company announced on Tuesday.

CHINA — Riot Games has banned 13 players from any event or league associated with them for terms ranging from nine months to a lifetime after having been involved in a match-fixing case.

The investigation concerns the ImbaTV Fearless Invitational Cup, which took place in July last year, during which members of Totoro Gaming, Underdog, and Invincible violated one or more of the VALORANT Global Competition Policy involving the manipulation of the outcome of a competitive match for monetary gain. After becoming aware of allegations of match-fixing in the aforementioned competition, it spurred Riot Games to immediately begin an internal investigation. 

The investigation conducted by Riot uncovered late pre-match betting, including wagers on Totoro Gaming to lose at least one map and for at least three maps to be played in total. That raised a credible level of concern from an integrity perspective in the particular match between Totoro Gaming and ShanXi Gaming. Members of team Underdog were also identified as persons of interest during the course of the investigation.

ALSO READ: Totoro Gaming win ImbaTV Fearless Invitational Cup

Totoro Gaming emerged victorious in the ImbaTV Fearless Invitational Cup after defeating KONE in the best-of-five grand final.
(Photo courtesy of ImbaTV)

The internal investigation discovered evidence that the match between Totoro Gaming and ShanXi Gaming in the ImbaTV Fearless Invitational Cup was manipulated, and that several members of Totoro Gaming were compensated monetarily as a result of the match manipulation. The investigation further uncovered evidence of other cases of match manipulation and betting activities engaged in by members of team Underdog and team Invincible.

A lifetime ban was granted to Totoro Gaming player Wang “Sylviaovo” Mingming and team manager Hao “iSy” Xingyu for their involvement in the match-fixing scheme. They are heavily implicated as the main conspirators in this action given the severity of the sanctions.

Meanwhile, 24-year-old Ho “HeiB” Shun Hei, who also formerly played for Chinese giant Big Time Regal Gaming (BTRG) in CS:GO, has also been banned for one year. The Hong Kong player most recently competed in the VCT HK/TW Stage 2 Challengers Open Qualifier alongside Yip “YOU” Man Ho for only a match against PasswordTodayDate. Nonetheless, the duo was not part of Only One Word’s campaign in the group stage or the playoffs, where the team finished fourth.

In an interview with CSGO.com.hk (TomorrowLAN) early this year, HeiB emphasized that “when you become a professional player, the ability to withstand pressure is very important, because if you lose the game, there will undoubtedly be pressure,”
(Photo courtesy of TomorrowLAN)

Totoro Gaming were once regarded as one of China’s top teams, having won multiple domestic competitions, including the ImbaTV Fearless Invitational Cup and the Energy Vision tournament. However, the team, alongside both Underdog and Invincible Gaming, all at the same time, became inactive after their appearance in the FGC Valorant Invitational in September last year.

Among the list, former Griffin E-Sports player Wong “Attention” Ka Fai, 23, also received an 18-month suspension. It is worth noting that the Duelist player attended both VCT HK/TW Stage 1 Challengers and VCT APAC Stage 1 Challengers with Griffin E-Sports, playing a total of 11 series from January to March. 

“Maintaining the competitive integrity of VALORANT tournaments is Riot Games’ priority and such matters are taken extremely seriously,” the official VALORANT Esports statement reads. “All players and coaches are expected to abide by the rules of fair play, and to observe the highest standards of personal integrity and good sportsmanship at all times. Unsportsmanlike behavior that violates the rules of fair play will not be tolerated by VALORANT Esports.” 

The severity of these penalties was reduced for individuals based on their level of culpability and their cooperation with the VALORANT Esports investigation, according to the release.

The following 13 individuals have been slapped with bans by Riot Games: 

Totoro Gaming:

Name, IGNRules violatedBan period
Hao “iSy” Xingyu (Manager)Rules 7.2.1 and 7.2.4Permanent
Wang “Sylviaovo” MingmingRules 7.2.1 and 7.2.4Permanent
Chen “cxy0714” XingyuRules 7.2.1 and 7.2.424 months
Yu “813” ZhaohengRules 7.2.2, 7.2.3, and 7.2.418 months
Ho “HeiB” Shun HeiRules 7.2.1 and 7.2.412 months
Yip “YOU” Man HoRules 7.2.1 and 7.2.412 months

Underdog:

Name, IGNRules violatedBan period
Zhang “yyang” HongyuRules 7.2.1 and 7.2.418 months
Wang “midnight” YingjieRules 7.2.1 and 7.2.418 months
Wong “Attention” Ka FaiRules 7.2.1 and 7.2.418 months
Peng “PPQueen” JiachengRule 7.2.49 months
Yang “Miracle” ZebinRule 7.2.49 months
Yang “Edge” YulinRule 7.2.49 months

Invincible:

Name, IGNRules violatedBan period
Yu “9st/badplayer” BoRule 7.2.112 months

The official statement by Riot Games can be found here.


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Cover photo courtesy of Funspark

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